When it comes to potential partners, Lily Primamore, 28, considers herself pretty “non-judgmental.”
“I love everyone,” Primamore, who works at a gallery in New York City’s Soho, told The Daily Beast. “I don’t give a shit.”
Well, except. . .
“If you came to me and said, ‘Hey Lily, I’m going to set you up on a blind date,’” Primamore suggested, “And I went and saw someone sitting across from me in a Canada Goose coat, I would have to ask: ‘How would you feel if Freddy Krueger was sitting at a table waiting to bang you?’ I’m going to have to go the other way, no thank you. Not that I hate.”
Primamore, who has been vegan for about a year, objects to the Canadian label’s use of coyote fur trim and goose down lining. “It’s similar to Silence of the Lambs with those human body suits,” she said.
What’s more, the knee-length padded parka—complete with the label’s insignia patch stamped over one’s right shoulder—costs over $1,000. This means, though the brand was founded in 1957 as a retailer for Canadian Rangers and other outdoor workers, its present-day reputation skews less rugged mountaineer and more corporate stooge. (The brand did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.)
A few years ago, the coat, which was once spotted on Rihanna and given away as Sundance Festival swag, was considered a venerable “It” item. But with its rise in prominence came overexposure. The perhaps inevitable backlash manifested in blogs like the now-dormant Canada Douche tumblr, which existed to publicly shame college students wearing the label. This month, the Chicago Tribune published a list of “The Best Winter Coats That Aren’t Canada Goose.”
While at dinner a few weeks ago, a friend posed the question, “What if you met someone in the summer who was perfect, but then it got cold and you realized they had a Canada Goose jacket?” After I conducted a very unscientific poll on my Instagram stories, I learned that 75 percent of those who answered would consider the offense a dealbreaker. Concerns about animals rights was the top concern, along with the coat being a major wealth flex and, to some, just plain boring.
The anorak may be a ubiquitous sight for urbanites come wintertime in the city, but owning one might turn you into a walking red flag. “I have strong opinions about those coats,” Madison Russell, a style editor at One37PM, wrote in a DM. “[Canada Goose represents] not only a disregard for animal rights, but blatant materialism and lack of taste.”
As Primamore asked, “What are you trying to symbolize [by wearing that brand of coat] other than being ridiculously expensive?”
“You should feel yourself of whatever, be confident with the clothes you wear, but everybody has those jackets,” Berto Calkins, 30, said. “It’s kind of corny to be following that trend just because it’s expensive. You could get a different brand. Go to Zara and get a warm jacket—or worse-case scenario, layer!”
The personal trainer and nutritionist is currently coupled up, but if he were still dating, he’d pass on Canada Goose clones. “Some people buy the coat because it’s warm or whatever, but at the end of the day you’re buying it because of the branding.”
But Tedi Sarah, 32, who has been vegan for six years, takes a more measured approach. “I’m all about living a cruelty-free lifestyle and making kinder choices for animals, people, and the planet, but there was a time when I didn’t know about these issues either,” she said. “As long as the person I’m dating is interested in learning more and open to making kinder choices, that works for me. It’s all about progress, not perfection.”
Canada Goose’s trapping methods have been meticulously documented by animal-welfare groups like PETA, which regularly stage protests outside stores, complete with fake blood strewn over cuddly coyote costumes.
The brand has responded on its website, writing in a statement that “We do not condone any willful mistreatment, neglect, or acts that maliciously cause animals undue suffering. Our standards for sourcing and use of fur, down, and wool reflect our commitment that materials are sourced from animals that are not subject to willful mistreatment or undue harm.”
Earlier this year, Newsweek reported that Canada Goose operates under its home country’s 1997 Agreement of International Humane Trapping Standards, which lists acceptable ways to catch animals. But some of the approved foot snares have been criticized by activists in other countries.
This increased awareness, spurred by watchdog groups, does not seem to deter customers. Canada Goose revealed last month that its revenue increased over 27 percent from last year, bringing in a total of $249 million in Canadian dollars.
But if you’re spending the winter lonely, kept warm at night only by the plush comfort of former dog fur, maybe leave the parka at home on your next date. There are other ways to flaunt your six-figure salary.
Or as Primamore put it, “It’s a black jacket with fucking fur on it. You can find that from Chanel and Gucci, too.”